A Week in Syracuse

We arrived in Syracuse late on Monday afternoon, so there wasn’t much time to explore the surrounding area before dark. I did some rearranging in our room at the Renaissance Hotel, so that we could fit all of our suitcases, and then set off to find some dinner. Downtown Syracuse, like so many of the cities of upstate New York, is rather desolate, but there is a cute area not too far from the hotel called the Armory District, which is full of restaurants and pubs and some shops. I went to an Irish pub named Kitty Hoynes for some fish and chips, then headed back to the hotel for some Monday night TV.

The hotel is actually quite nice – the rooms are small, but we have a nice big flat screen TV and the bed is extremely comfortable. We are also high up with a view of the surrounding hills and we get great light, which is always a plus! It has actually been just fine for only a week’s stay, despite its wee square footage.

On Tuesday we continued load-in at the Crouse-Hinds Theater in downtown Syracuse. After the tight Canon Theater in Toronto, the Crouse-Hinds seems spacious in comparison. It is smaller onstage than many of the theaters we have played, but we have a cross-over and all the quick-change booths fit – so that makes it a thousand times better than Toronto. No more squeezing between the castle and the upstage wall to get into the castle. Now we can walk around like civilized people! The theater is a little sterile and personality-less – our office in fact looks like a police station office- but you gotta take what you can get! It was an easy load-in day – I’m not sure what it is about some load-ins that make them so much easier than others, but some just are. We had plenty of time for trips to Starbucks and CVS and a long lunch at a cute Mexican restaurant called The Mission, which is housed in an old church – once a stop on the Underground Railroad. 

Tuesday night was Matthew’s (our new Lancelot) first performance. He did a great job and is a really nice addition to our company both onstage and off – he is a very smart actor, and a really nice guy, too – what more could we ask for? After the show, a large number of people made the trek to nearby Dinosaur BBQ to celebrate Matthew’s opening and Cuz’s birthday (our sound man). We visited the other branch of Dinosaur BBQ a year and a half ago when we played Rochester, and so everyone was excited to get their mouths around some yummy BBQ again. It did not disappoint!

Syracuse University

On Wednesday Ryan and I walked around the campus of Syracuse University. It is a really pretty campus – and there are a couple of neighboring streets with restaurants and a Starbucks, further life in Syracuse! Although the campus was very inviting, I’m so glad I went to school where I did! I think I would have gotten so bored going to school in a smaller town. Maybe that’s why I ended up living in New York City later.

Syracuse University

Wednesday night we had drinks at the hotel bar to celebrate Carissa’s debut (she has taken over Bree’s ensemble track) – its a nice little bar – set up like a library with couches and books and a big TV. Yay to being back in the USA where beer is cheap and plentiful! Did you know a beer in Canada generally runs about $8! Highway robbery!

On Thursday Ryan and I went to try the food at Strong Hearts Cafe, which is down the block from the hotel. It is a vegan cafe that everyone had been talking about, and had been recommended by the hotel. It was good! We ended up going back a couple of times throughout the rest of the week for yummy sandwiches and soups and waffles. Thursday night was a going-away party for Adam, our associate conductor, who is leaving to be the music director for the second national tour of “Wicked”. We went to a brew pub called Syracuse Suds to send him off right.

On Friday Ryan and I ventured back to the Syracuse University area to eat at a coffee shop called Funk ‘n’ Waffles. Yum yum!! The waffles there were soooo good! I had buttermilk with bananas, and Ryan had buckwheat with blueberries. And then we split a Belgian. We had to! They were delicious!

We watched a movie that afternoon, and I started to feel a bit fever-y. It was Jenn Rias’s birthday and there was a party at a local wine bar that night but I decided to go home at rest instead of going out. The last thing I want is to get sick right now.

Saturday was yet ANOTHER birthday! Jonathan Hadary, our King Arthur, celebrated his 60th! We had yet another enormous sheet cake at intermission (our third this week) and then drinks again at the hotel bar after the show.

Darryl at the bar

Cara and Christopher

So what could have been kind of a boring week in a small-ish town, ended up being party-filled! It seems like that often happens with the smaller stops on this tour – the company ends up making their own fun and since we usually end up staying at the same hotel, the stop ends up being a “bonding” time – way more so than when we are in the bigger cities and everyone is spread out all over the place.

Next week will be really interesting. We are headed back into technical rehearsals to rehab the show with a set that will be easier to travel. I think what had originally been planned for this “cut-down” version of the show has been modified quite a bit and the changes won’t be that major, but still, going back into rehearsal after two-and-a-half years on the road, will be a strange thing for this show! We are doing the tech at the military academy at West Point, culminating with one performance on Saturday night.

And after that we get a much-needed two-week lay-off before heading back to Canada, yet again.

Hope everyone had a great week!

So Long Kitty & Baby, and Back to the USA!

On Sunday we not only said goodbye to Patrick, Bree and Tera-Lee, but also to Kitty and Baby!

You remember Kitty and Baby – they have traveled the U.S. with us for the past two years, dressing up in every town. They were first found in the boys’ chorus room in Toronto when “Spamalot” was there the first time around. We decided it would be fitting for them to return to their home and so we said goodbye to them at the end of our run on Sunday.

Kitty and Baby in Nashville

Kitty and Baby in Nashville

But not before a ceremony led by Ken, who read some words and processed with Darryl, Gurr and I around the dressing rooms with Kitty and Baby under a shroud before placing them back in their resting place in a cubby in the men’s dressing room.

Darryl, Gurr and Ken at Kitty & Baby's wake

Darryl, Gurr and Ken at Kitty & Baby's wake

Ken leading the procession

Ken leading the procession

It was sad to see them go! Kitty and Baby, you will be missed! The tour will not be the same without you! Perhaps they will be found by another tour and taken on another odyssey around the country. Who knows?

Yesterday we left Canada and drove to Syracuse. It was a long day, which started out with the bus being over an hour late.

Waiting for the bus to arrive

Waiting for the bus to arrive

Missy in her new coat

Missy in her new coat

Fortunately the border crossing was very easy – checking the whole bus-load of us took less time than it usually takes for one person to get through customs at the airport. And our border guard was cute, to boot!

At the border

At the border

Now we are in Syracuse, New York for a week, then to West Point for a week to re-tech the show with a new set. And after that, two weeks off! I’m super excited for NY Sheep and Wool – I’ll be there on the Sunday. Anyone else going??